Spring Vegetable Stew with Garlic Bread

by Jennifer

This recipe comes from the Chicago Tribune, at least 8 years old as that’s when we moved from Chicago to Massachusetts.  I’ve adapted it a bit, but it’s still easy to put together and delicious.  You can serve it over rice or pasta, or with garlic bread (see below).

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced diagonally into roughly 1” pieces
  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 25 – 26 oz. canned/boxed chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 15 oz. can small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add shallots, scallions and fennel seeds and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.

Add artichoke hearts, broth, tomatoes and beans and cook over low heat until

asparagus is crisp-tender, about 12 minutes.  Stir in salt and pepper, and serve with a generous sprinkling of cheese.

For Garlic Bread:

  • 1 baguette, sliced diagonally
  • Garlic Oil (heat 1/3 – 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil over low heat with 3 – 4 cloves garlic, chopped, for about 5 minutes;  keeps in fridge for a couple weeks)
  • Dried oregano
  • Sea salt

Preheat broiler.

Brush bread slices with Garlic Oil, sprinkle with dried oregano and salt, then broil until crisp and the edges are golden, about 2 minutes.

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Leek and Mascarpone Cheese Risotto, Grilled Asparagus

by Jennifer

This risotto, adapted from Cooking Light, is wonderful, requires a little forethought.  You make the broth first, so either leave enough time beforehand, or make it up to a day before.  The easiest way to wash leeks is to chop them first, then rinse them well with cool water in a colander.  I served the risotto with grilled asparagus:  prepare your grill, take one bunch of asparagus – about a pound or so – and toss it with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill for about 5 minutes or so, turning once, until lightly charred but still crisp-tender.  Serves 4 – 6.

  • 8 cups water
  • 6 large leeks, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups parsley, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup basil, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 onion, cut into small chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1” pieces
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 TBS chopped preserved lemon OR zest from one lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine water, 2 cups chopped leeks, 1 cup parsley, 1/2 cup basil, and salt through celery in a large pot, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, lower heat to a simmer and let broth simmer for about 35 minutes.

Drain broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium-sized pot, discarding solids.  If you felt like measuring it (I did not), you should have about 5 1/2 cups broth.

Add a pinch of saffron to the pot and keep the pot on low heat.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add remaining leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add wine and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed.

Add 2 cups of hot broth and cook, stirring frequently,

until liquid is almost absorbed.

Repeat with another 2 cups of broth.  Add remaining broth, and when liquid is almost absorbed,

add remaining parsley, basil, mascarpone cheese, Parmesan cheese, preserved lemon or lemon zest, salt and pepper, stirring well until cheeses melt.

Serve immediately.

Asparagus and Yellow Pepper Frittata

by Jennifer

Serves 6, alongside Lemon-Olive Oil Muffins.

  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into small diagonal pieces
  • 1 large yellow pepper, cut into small strips
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, then sliced
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 400.  Heat butter and olive oil in a 12” heavy oven-proof skillet, tilting pan to coat the sides.

Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Add asparagus, yellow pepper and zucchini, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the vegetables cook, whisk together eggs, milk, parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Pour egg mixture over vegetables,

and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Transfer pan to oven and bake for 15 – 18 minutes, or until the frittata is lightly golden and set.

Broil for a minute, then remove from oven and serve hot.

Mushroom and Sun-dried Tomato Quiche, Asparagus and Greens Salad

by Jennifer

The quiche serves 4 – 6;  the salad serves 4.

Mushroom and Sun-dried Tomato Quiche – adapted from the quiche recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

  • 1 single unbaked pie crust, store-bought or homemade (I used the Fool-Proof Pie Dough recipe)
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. sliced white mushrooms
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 3 TBS flour
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • Paprika for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a 9” or 10” pan with pie crust dough, crimping edges.

In a small bowl, cover the tomatoes with hot water and let sit until softened, about 15 minutes.  Drain and squeeze the tomatoes dry.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat;  cook mushrooms until

they’ve given off their liquid and are golden brown, about 10 – 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour and mustard.

Scatter cheese over the pie crust;

then scatter the mushrooms and tomatoes.

Sprinkle the scallions over the mushrooms and tomatoes.

Pour the egg mixture over everything,

then sprinkle generously with paprika.

Bake for 50 minutes or until puffed, golden, and the center is solid when the pan is jiggled.

Asparagus and Greens Salad

  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2” long pieces
  • 7 cups gourmet salad greens, washed and spun dry
  • 5 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a skillet filled halfway with salted water to a strong simmer;  add asparagus and simmer for 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse the asparagus with cool water;  set aside.

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.

Place salad greens in a serving bowl;

add the asparagus, then the dressing, tossing well to combine.

Fennel, Onion and Olive Pizza; Asparagus with Orange Dressing and Toasted Hazelnuts

by Jennifer

Saute the fennel and onion first, then set aside, wash out the pan, and use it to cook the asparagus.  While the fennel and onion are cooking, roll out the dough, chop the olives and hazelnuts, and whisk the dressing.  The asparagus can be served warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4.

Fennel, Onion and Olive Pizza – adapted from Cooking Light

  • about 1 lb. pizza dough (I used the grilled pizza dough recipe;  remember you can make it up to 2 days in advance)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 medium bulbs fennel, cores removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup bottled pizza sauce or marinara sauce
  • generous 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • cornmeal for pizza paddle

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil, then add the fennel through pepper and cook, stirring frequently,

until browned and tender, about 15 minutes.  Prepare grill.

Roll out dough to a (roughly) 14” circle;  transfer it to a cornmeal-dusted pizza paddle (or rimless baking sheet).

Slide dough onto grill and grill for about 3 minutes, or

until distinct grill marks appear on the bottom and the top is all puffed.  Slide the crust back onto the paddle and turn it over so the grilled side is up.

Spread the sauce over the crust, leaving about an inch border all around.

Spread the fennel-onion mixture over the sauce.

Sprinkle the cheese over the mixture,

then scatter the olives.

Return to the grill for another 3 – 4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and there are grill marks on the bottom.

Asparagus with Orange Dressing and Toasted Hazelnuts – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
  • juice from 1/2 orange
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the asparagus in a wide saucepan of boiling, salted water for 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Drain asparagus and arrange on a platter.

While the asparagus is cooking, whisk together the zest through pepper.  Drizzle dressing over asparagus, then sprinkle with the hazelnuts.

Pasta with Green Vegetables and Herbs

by Jennifer

This great weeknight meal, adapted from Gourmet Magazine, uses only one pot (and a food processor…but still, one pot!).  Serves 4.

  • 1 bunch asparagus – mine was about 1 1/2 lbs. – trimmed, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lb. dried linguine
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh mint
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 4 minutes, then remove, using a sieve or slotted spoon, to a serving bowl.

Cook the peas in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer in the same way to the bowl.

Cook the linguine in the boiling water according to package directions;  before draining,

reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.

While the linguine is cooking, pulse the mint, oregano, oil, salt, pepper to taste and 2 oz. of the feta cheese in a food processor

until finely chopped.

Add this mixture to the serving bowl with the asparagus and peas.

Add the remaining cheese, parsley and scallions to the bowl, too.

After draining the linguine, stir the reserved cooking water into the vegetables,

then add the linguine and toss well to combine.